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Eric Victor Burdon (born 11 May 1941; Walkermarker, Newcastle upon Tynemarker) is best known as a founding member and vocalist of The Animals, a rock band formed in Newcastlemarker, Englandmarker, his multi-racial funk rock band War and his aggressive stage performance.

Burdon was lead singer of The Animals, formed during 1962 in Newcastle, England. They combined electric blues with rock and were one of the leading bands of the "British Invasion". Along with The Beatles, The Who, The Rolling Stones, The Dave Clark Five, and The Kinks, the group helped to introduce the world to Britishmarker music and fashion. Burdon's powerful voice can be heard in The Animals singles "The House of the Rising Sun", " Sky Pilot", "Monterey", "I'm Crying", "Boom Boom", "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood", "Bring It On Home to Me", "We've Gotta Get Out of This Place", "Don't Bring Me Down", and "See See Rider".

Eric Burdon and The Animals

By late 1966 the other original members of The Animals, including keyboardist Alan Price, had left the band. Burdon and drummer Barry Jenkins reformed the group renaming it Eric Burdon and The Animals. This more psychedelic incarnation of the group featured future Family member John Weider and was sometimes called Eric Burdon and the New Animals. Keyboardist Zoot Money joined them during 1968 until they split up in 1969. This group's hits included the ballad "San Franciscan Nights", the grungeheavy metal-pioneering "When I Was Young", "Monterey", the anti-Vietnammarker anthem "Sky Pilot" and the progressive cover of "Ring of Fire". In June 2003, he formed another Eric Burdon and The Animals band, which included keyboardist Martin Gerschwitz, bassist Dave Meros, guitarist Dean Restum, and drummer Bernie Pershey until 2005 when they disbanded. During 2008 Burdon toured again as Eric Burdon and The Animals with a variable lineup of backing musicians.

Eric Burdon and The New Animals

Although the band Burdon formed in early 1967 was sometimes called Eric Burdon and The New Animals, it wasn't until 1998 that the name Eric Burdon and The New Animals was officially adopted. The 1998 band had a lineup of bassist Dave Meros, guitarist Dean Restum , drummer Aynsley Dunbar and keyboard guitarist Neal Morse. They recorded Live At The Coach House on 17 October 1998, which was released on video and DVD during December that year. In 1999 they released The Official Live Bootleg #2 and in August 2000 The Official Live Bootleg 2000, with Martin Gerschwitz on keyboards.

The Animals reunions

In 1975 the original Animals reunited and recorded an album called Before We Were So Rudely Interrupted which was eventually released during 1977 and was much overlooked, due to the dawning of the punk era. In May 1983 The Animals reunited, with their complete and original lineup and the album Ark was released on 16 June 1983, along with the singles "The Night" and "Love Is For All Time". A world tour followed and the concert at Wembley Arenamarker Londonmarker recorded on December 31, 1983 was released in 1984 entitled Rip It To Shreds. Their concert at the Royal Oak Theatre in April 1984 was released in 2008 entitled Last Live Show; the band members on this occasion were augmented by Zoot Money, Nippy Noya, Steve Gregory and Steve Grant. The original Animals broke up for the last time at the end of 1984.

"The Animals": Burdon versus Steel

On 13 December 2008, Burdon lost a three-year legal battle to win the rights of the name "The Animals" in the UK. Drummer John Steel now owns the rights to the name "The Animals" in the UK only. Eric Burdon still tours the world with his band, as Eric Burdon and the Animals, but is at least temporarily prevented from using the name "The Animals" in the land of his birth and rise to fame, while the case is under appeal. John Steel was a member of the band during its early heyday and left before the band split up in 1966. Steel later played in various reunion versions of the band with Burdon.

1969–1976: Eric Burdon & War

2008 Reunion flyer
During 1969, while living in San Franciscomarker, Burdon joined forces with Californianmarker funk rock band War. The resulting album was entitled Eric Burdon Declares "War" which produced the singles "Spill the Wine" and "Tobacco Road". A two-disc set entitled The Black-Man's Burdon, was released later in September 1970. The singles from the double album, "Paint it Black" and "They Can't Take Away Our Music", had moderate success during 1971. During this time Burdon collapsed on the stage during a concert, caused by an asthma attack, and War continued the tour without him.

In 1976 a compilation album, Love Is All Around, was released by Rhino Records which had recordings of Eric Burdon with War and a live version of "Paint it Black" and a jam session called "A Day In The Life".

War reunion

Eric Burdon and War were reunited for the first time in 37 years, to perform a concert at the Royal Albert Hallmarker Londonmarker on 21 April 2008.. The concert coincided with a major reissue campaign by Rhino Records (UK), who released all the War albums including Eric Burdon Declares "War" and The Black-Man's Burdon.

1971–1979: Solo career

Burdon began a solo career in 1971 with The Eric Burdon Band, continuing with a hard rockheavy metalfunk style. In August 1971 he recorded the album Guilty! which featured the blues shouter Jimmy Witherspoon, and also Ike White of the San Quentin Prisonmarker Band. In 1973 the band performed at the Reading Festival and in 1974 they travelled to New York. At the end of 1974 the band released the album Sun Secrets and this was followed by the album Stop in 1975. Burdon moved to Germanymarker in 1977 and recorded the album Survivor with a lineup including guitarist Alexis Korner and keyboardist Zoot Money; the album also had a lineup of four guitarists and three keyboard players and is known for its interesting album cover, which depicts Burdon screaming. In May 1978 he recorded the album Darkness Darkness at the Roundwood House in County Laoismarker, Irelandmarker, using Ronnie Lane's Mobile Studio and featuring guitarist and vocalist Bobby Tench of The Jeff Beck Group, who had left Streetwalkers a few months before. The album was eventually released in 1980.. During January 1979 Burdon changed his band for a tour taking in Hamburgmarker, Germanymarker and Hollandmarker.

1979–1981: The Fire Department

During March 1979 he played a concert in Cologne and changed the band's name to "Eric Burdon's Fire Department", whose lineup included backing vocalist Jackie Carter of Silver Convention, Bertram Engel of Udo Lindenbergs "Panik Orchester" and Jean-Jaques Kravetz. In mid 1980 they recorded the album The Last Drive. "Eric Burdon's Fire Department" toured Europe with this lineup and Paul Millins and Louisiana Red made special appearances in Spainmarker and Italymarker. By December 1980 the band had broken up.

1981–1982: The film Comeback

In April 1981, Christine Buschmann began to film Comeback with Burdon as the star. They created a new "Eric Burdon Band" whose lineup included Louisiana Red, Tony Braunagle, John Sterling and Snuffy Walden. This band recorded live tracks in Los Angelesmarker. They also recorded in Berlinmarker with another lineup, the only remaining member being John Sterling. In September 1981 the final scenes of Comeback were shot in the Berlin Metropole and Burdon and his band continued to tour through Australia and North America. A studio album titled Comeback was released in 1982. The 1983 album Power Company also included songs recorded during the Comeback project.

1982–1990: The Eric Burdon Band and autobiography

On 28 August 1982 "The Eric Burdon Band" including Red Young (keyboards) performed at the Rockpalast Open Air Concert in Loreleimarker, Germanymarker. Following this Burdon toured heavily with his solo project from March 1984 to March 1985, taking in UK, Spain, Germany, Sweden, Canada and Australia. In 1986 Burdon published his autobiography entitled I Used To Be An Animal, But I'm Alright Now. In 1988 he put together a band with 15 musicians including Andrew Giddings - keyboards, Steve Stroud - bass, Adrian Sheppard - drums, Jamie Moses - guitar and four backing vocalists to record the album I Used To Be An Animal in Malibumarker, in the United Statesmarker. In 1990 Eric Burdon's cover version of "Sixteen Tons" was used for the film Joe Versus the Volcano. The song, which played at the beginning of the film, was also released as a single. He also recorded the singles "We Gotta Get out of this Place" with Katrina & The Waves and "No Man's Land" with Tony Carey and Anne Haigis. Later in 1990 he had a small lineup of an Eric Burdon Band featuring Jimmy Zavala (sax and harmonica), Dave Meros(bass), Jeff Naideau (keyboards), Thom Mooney (drums) and John Sterling (guitar) before he began a tour with The Doors guitarist Robbie Krieger and they appeared at a concert from Ventura Beachmarker, California, which was released as a DVD on 20 June 2008.

1991–1994: With Brian Auger

In 1991, Burdon and Brian Auger formed the "Eric Burdon - Brian Auger Band" with the following lineup: Eric Burdon - vocals, Brian Auger - keyboards, vocals, Dave Meros - bass, vocals, Don Kirkpatrick - guitar, vocals, and Paul Crowder - drums, vocals. By 1992, Larry Wilkins replaced Kirkpatrick and Karma Auger (Brian's son) replaced Crowder and in 1993 they added Richard Reguria (percussion). The live album Access All Areas was then released. In 1994 the "Eric Burdon - Brian Auger Band" disbanded. Burdon then formed the "Eric Burdon's i Band". The lineup included Larry Wilkins, Dean Restum (guitar), Dave Meros (bass) and Mark Craney (drums).

1995–2000: Bon Jovi and Lost Within the Halls of Fame

In 1995, Burdon made a guest appearance with Bon Jovi, singing "It's My Life"/"We Gotta Get Out Of This Place" medley at the Hall of Fame. He also released the album Lost Within The Halls Of Fame, with past tracks and re-recordings of some songs from I Used To Be An Animal. In October 1996, Aynsley Dunbar replaced Craney on drums. The Official Live Bootleg was recorded in 1997 and in May that year Larry Wilkins died of cancer. He also released the compilations Soldier Of Fortune and I'm Ready which featured recordings from the 1970s and 1980s.

In 2000 he recorded the song "Power to the People" together with Ringo Starr and Billy Preston for the motion picture Steal This Movie!.

2001–2002: Rock Walk of Fame

On 11 May 2001, The Animals were inducted into the Rock Walk Of Fame on Burdon's 60th birthday. On 3 March 2002, the live album Live in Seattle was recorded. Ex-War member Lee Oskar made a guest appearance on the album.

Pyx Lux, My Secret Life and Athens Traffic Live 2003–2005

In 2003 he made a guest appearance on the album Joyous in the City of Lunatics (Χαρούμενοι στην πόλη των τρελλών) by Greece's top rock band Pyx Lux (Πυξ Λαξ), singing lead vocal on "Someone Wrote 'Save me' On a Wall".

On 13 April 2004 he released a "comeback" album, My Secret Life, which was his first album with new recordings for 16 years. When John Lee Hooker died in 2001, Burdon had written the song "Can't Kill the Boogieman" the co-writers of the songs, on the album, were Tony Braunagel and Marcelo Nova. In 2005 they released a live album, Athens Traffic Live, with special DVD bonus material and a bonus studio track and disbanded in November 2005. He began a short touring as "The Blues Knights".

2006–2007: Soul of a Man and Hippiefest

On 27 January 2006 he released his blues–R&B album Soul of a Man. This album was dedicated to Ray Charles and John Lee Hooker. The cover of the album was a picture, which was sent to Burdon a few years before. Burdon then formed a new band, with the following members: Red Young (keyboards), Paula O'Rourke (bass), Eric McFadden (guitar) and Wally Ingram (drums). They also performed at the Luganomarker Festival and in 2007 he toured as the headlining act of the "Hippiefest" lineup, produced and hosted by Country Joe McDonald.


Bo Diddley

On 7 June 2008, Burdon performed at the memorial service of Bo Diddley in Gainesvillemarker, Floridamarker. During July and August 2008, Burdon appeared as the headline act of the "Hippiefest". He also recorded the single "For What It's Worth" with Carl Carlton and Max Buskohl.

Rolling Stone Magazine

On 12 November 2008, Rolling Stone ranked Eric Burdon #57 on the list of the 100 Greatest Singers of all Time.

New band and tour

On 22 January 2009, he first performed with his new band, including keyboardist Red Young, guitarist Rick Hirsch, bass player Jack Bryant and drummer Ed Friedland. For a few months he was sick and did not perform except in the United Statesmarker. On 26 June, he began his European tour. The band includes Red Young (keyboards), Billy Watts (guitar), Terry Wilson (bass), Brannen Temple (drums) and Georgia Dagaki (cretan lyra). On August 7, the tour ended.

On September 9, after a gig, his wife and manager Marianna Proestou was hit by a pick up truck, when two fans asked for an autograph.

Personal life

On 7 September 1967 he married Angie King in Londonmarker. Burdon made it clear that he didn't want to make the marriage public, but on the wedding day the press encroached on the church service. This marriage only lasted until 1969, when they divorced.

On 17 September 1972, he married a German girl, Rosie Marks. They had a daughter, Alexandria. Marks appears in an "Up North" television programme, appearing with Burdon's family. They were divorced in 1978 and a battle for child custody began. In 1983, after the Animals had re-united again and toured, his ex-wife and their daughter disappeared. In a 2006 interview Burdon confirmed that he eventually made contact with his daughter.

In the late 70s his house in California was burned down by his ex-wife Angie King. Much of his archival footage, including records, lyrics, scripts, diaries and pictures were destroyed.

His father died in 1984, his mother in 1991.

Film career

Burdon wanted to act in the movie Blowup (1966). Director Michelangelo Antonioni wanted to use him as a musician in a club scene. Burdon turned the role down, because he had acted in movies before, where he sang songs. He disbanded The Animals and went to Californiamarker where he met Jim Morrison and came to the realization that his real inspiration was acting.

Later, he turned down major roles in Zabriskie Pointmarker and Performance (both 1970).

In 1973 he formed The Eric Burdon Band and recorded the soundtrack for his own film project, Mirage. He spent much money to make this film, produced as a motion picture for Atlantic. The film and the soundtrack had to be released in July 1974, but somehow it never was. The soundtrack was released in 2008.

In 1979 he acted in the TV movie The 11th Victim. Then in the German motion picture Gibbi - Westgermany (1980). In 1982 he starred in another German motion picture, Comeback, again as a singer.

In 1991 he had a very small role in The Doors.

In 1998 he acted as himself in the Greek movie My Brother and I, followed by a bigger role in the German motion picture Snow on New Year's Eve (1999).

In the following years he was credited in many documentaries and in an independent movie called Fabulous Shiksa in Distress (2003), along with Ned Romero and Ted Markland.

In 2007 he performed the traditional "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child" in the drama festival film The Blue Hour and in a documentary about Joshua Tree, where Burdon lives, called Nowhere Now (2008).


The sound of The Animals influenced many Britpop, Alternative rock and Power pop groups, and his voice is highly respected by many people like Jim Morrison, Robert Plant, Dan Zanes, Tom Petty, David Johansen and Joe Cocker.

Iggy Pop and Bruce Springsteen voted for Burdon in the poll of Rolling Stone's list of the Top One Hundred best singers.

Brian Jones called him "The best blues singer to ever come out of England."

Alan Price called him "The best singer in a white band."



  • 1964: Get Yourself a College Girl
  • 1964: Whole Lotta Shakin'
  • 1965: Pop Gear
  • 1965: The Dangerous Christmas of Red Riding Hood
  • 1967: It's a Bikini World
  • 1967: Tonite Let's Make All Love in London
  • 1968: All my Loving
  • 1968: Monterey Pop
  • 1973: Mirage (never filmed)
  • 1979: 11th Victim
  • 1980: Gibbi - Westgermany
  • 1982: Comeback
  • 1991: The Doors
  • 1999: Snow on New Year's Eve
  • 2001: Plaster Caster
  • 2001: Screamin' Jay Hawkins: I Put a Spell on Me
  • 2007: The Blue Hour
  • 2008: Nowhere Now: The Ballad of Joshua Tree



  1. Soul of A Man The Story of Eric Burdon
  2. Eric Burdon vocals and percussion, Red Young keyboards and vocals, Hilton Valentine guitar and vocals, Paula O'Rourke bass and vocals, Billy Watts guitar, Steve Conte lead guitar, Tony Braunagel drums, Herman Matthews drums, Steve Murphy drums, Bobby Furgo violin
  3. Daniel Boffey, Eric Burdon loses battle to be the only Animal, The Daily Mail, December 14, 2008;
  4. Eric Burdon & War reunion at the Royal Albert Hall
  5. Darkness
  6. Bo Diddley, Calgary Herald, June 8th 2008


  • Burdon, Eric. I Used to Be an Animal, but I'm All Right Now. Faber and Faber, 1986. ISBN 0-571-13492-0.
  • Burdon, Eric (with J. Marshall Craig). Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood: A Memoir. Thunder's Mouth Press, 2001. ISBN 1-56025-330-4.

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